April 5th, 2012
11:03 AM ET

Kony sequel is out and firing back at critics

A famously viral and controversial video that turned an African warlord into a household name in February now has a sequel.

On Thursday morning, the San Diego-based organization Invisible Children released "Beyond Famous." Coming in at 19 minutes - about 10 minutes less than the group's first video - the sequel addresses media criticism of the first "Kony 2012" video, which caught fire on Twitter and was reportedly viewed on YouTube 100 million times. It also explains what politicians in Washington and in Africa have done in the past month since the original "Kony 2012" video.

The second video continues to advocate for the capture of Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army. Formed in the 1980s, the LRA is a sectarian military and religious group that operates in Uganda and South Sudan. As its leader, Kony recruited child soldiers and committed numerous atrocities include raping and maiming civilians, experts say. Kony is at large.

Ben Keesey, Invisible Children's executive director, told CNN the makers of the first video said they wanted to explain the plight of children affected by the LRA. The video hung its narrative on 30-something American filmmaker Jason Russell, his friendship with a young Ugandan boy who had escaped from the LRA, and Russell's young son, Gavin.

At one point in that video, Russell tells his son on camera that there are bad guys like Kony in the world. The child reacts as any child would incredibly scared. Russell, who recently had a public meltdown, is not part of the sequel.

Critics blasted the video as overly simplistic.

"We made the first video intentionally for a young Western audience, and therefore it was a priority that the video keep their attention," Keesey told CNN on Thursday. "This (new) video goes deeper. I think people will respond."

The sequel opens with soundbites from critics of the first video. The voices of various pundits and media personalities say "simplified" a couple of times. Mid-sentence soundbites from journalists, several of them on CNN, round out the beginning of the video.

Keesey narrates, explaining the creation of the campaign, its progress and ongoing efforts to stop the LRA. Part two essentially rehashes what was in the first video, but Keesey notes that officials from the United States to Africa have spoken recently about their desire to stop Kony or have signed measures aimed at stopping him. He adds that the African Union recently announced plans to deploy 5,000 troops to hunt down Kony.

The United Nations, meanwhile, said in late March that attacks by Kony's army are increasing.

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Filed under: Africa • World
soundoff (127 Responses)
  1. chip

    This guy was not even as bad as the current government or military which "Invisible Children" works with. Invisible Children gets money and gives it to a corrupt army, who then (on their honor) makes sure the kids get it. OK. This is propaganda with another purpose. It has nothing to do with helping children.

    April 5, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chuck

      Chip, I'd be surprised if you know anything about Invisible Children the organization or have been to Africa, much less Uganda. I've worked with (for free and have no financial or personal ties to) I.C. for five years and find your statement utterly wrong and misinformed. I challenge you to research a topic BEFORE writing something based on emotion or predetermined bias. This is an outstanding organization (though not perfect) that has helped and intends to help children and even helps spoiled American kids wake up to the reality of a cruel and harsh world bigger than their X-box or favorite movie.

      April 5, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anon

      Chip: Though I have no beef with Invisible Children, you definitely struck a nerve with the statement "this is propaganda with another purpose." Oil fields are found in northern Uganda in the fall of 2011, and mere weeks later the US has deployed troops under the guise of detaining Kony–I smell ulterior motives. Russell said it himself in the Kony 2012 vid: the reason no one has helped in the past is that no foreign government has a vested interest in Ugandan or Sudanese politics. Is a multi-billion dollar fuel industry motivation enough?

      April 5, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • xc

      If you google "vigilant citizen and kony 2012 project", you'll read a very different, highly insightful take on what kony 2012 might really be about. It's worth a read... It might sound bogus, but I wouldn't completely ignore it. Chip doesn't take things at face value and neither do I.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Marklar

    Regardless of the critics, regardless of the message, this "invisible children" group is associated with hatemongers, bigots and uber fundamentalists using Africa as the base to spread hate filled religion all over the world. I advise everyone to check out the internet, just Google "Invisible Children, Fundamentalist, Ties" and see exactly what this group is about.

    Christians who LIE, interesting that anyone believes this manure!

    April 5, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hogarth

      Agreed. I also believe that what happens on our own doorstep should be of more concern to us than what happens on the other side of the world. It's obvious that what IC is really about is spreading their idea of the "gospel", while simultaneously enriching themselves. Why would an American group be in Africa in the first place – you have to ask this. The answer – to win "souls" and suck up some of that sweet, sweet donation money.
      To hell with them. Support your local charities. Do not support these so-called christians.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • CB

      You're a nut.

      April 6, 2012 at 3:43 am | Report abuse |
  3. Emigdio Alvarez

    How will Invisible Children respond to the evidence that only 1/3 of donations actually goes toward helping Ugandans, and how their Co-founder has been seen running in the nude while on drugs?

    April 5, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      He wasn't on drugs. He was just crazy from the get-go and pretended that all the sudden attention was too much for him to handle.... yet who knows where that came from since he ON CAMERA said he wanted the "whole world" to see that stupid video and he consciously uploaded it on YouTube.. more hilarious is this is one of many attempts for attention that blew up in his face. One example is to search for his 'music video' which is hilarious...

      April 5, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • CB

      Wake up and check out their official responses. Get educated.

      April 6, 2012 at 3:44 am | Report abuse |
  4. Emigdio Alvarez

    that still doesn't explain the fact that 66% of all donated funds goes to making these 30 minute movies.

    April 5, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • CB

      66% doesn't go to making the movies. Can you read. Check out the website and see what IC has accomplished. The Social Awareness piece is huge. Read about the Movement and MAYBE you'll be able to understand that it actually costs money to reach people in person. Social Activism is what IC is about.

      April 6, 2012 at 3:49 am | Report abuse |
  5. Alex Povolotski

    Why should it concern me? People die every day by the thousands.

    April 5, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Caity Upton

    Oh look. Jason Russell still thinks he's relevant

    April 5, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. bobburt

    has anybody seen that awesome parody of this guy on youtube? I heard that on 33% of the profits from this kony crap actually goes to Uganda

    April 5, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. AngryAmerican

    Funny how these videos start to come out after we find out Uganda has massive oil deposits.

    April 5, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. AngryAmerican


    April 5, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. 3rdEye

    Simple logical deduction. US does not waste money on ventures that have no financial return. If the US wanted someone dead – its not hard – they will be killed – especially nowadays with our predator drones and satellite technology and more. We don't need a "grass-roots" campaign to let everyone know about it – THEN kill Kony – makes no sense. Think about this – how can the President of the United States NOT KNOW that Knoy is a threat to peaceful citizens in Africa? And if he did knoew – why does he care about what WE think about Killing Kony? The gov obviously don't care about what the public thinks about attacking somone or a nation as you can see from The Middle East – they do what they want to. So this is what the gov want to do b/c of an corporate serving agenda. The corporatocracy that the US has turned into – is basically goign into Africa to take natural resources and then install social infracstructure by US companies making billions and billions of dollars.....I can keep going....but I hope you look into this more for yourself..

    April 5, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • sowgoodseeds

      Yeah, it just took 10 years for the US to kill Osama bin Laden – so you're absolutely right. It's so easy to kill just one guy!
      All of you people who claim to have done "research" and them implore others to "look into things further..." I implore you to get off your lazy butts and go to the LIBRARY and READ A BOOK on the history of Africa instead of just googling everything all the time. Google is NOT research!!!

      April 5, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jack

    Enough of this KONY nonsense, the guy who made the video is a nut, you can find a video of him on drugs running around naked and masturbating in public in California. He is a nut and has no credibility, he runs this organization to put big money in his pockets and take "free" vacations to Africa. I wonder how many Safari's he's been on at the expense of the people donating.

    April 5, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. wherefore

    Gawd, some of you people – you sure make other Americans want to stick their necks out and do something to help other people.

    Was the video too self-indulgent?
    Does this cause need our support, and less focus on hacking at the creators?
    Even moreso-

    Quit whining about the medium, and do something to help fight the root problem

    April 5, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jason

    The cynicism of the internet community is mind boggling. I guess nobody actually does anything simply because they believe in it, right? Furthermore, I have to ask, what have any of these keyboard warriors done with their lives that makes them so special? Most of them probably never even get out of the house.

    April 5, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Anonymous

    Kony looks a lot like Carl Weathers in "Predator".

    April 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. leeintulsa

    joseph kony is a real man. he is the head of the lord's resistance army, who began a guerilla war against uganda in 1987. it has since expanded its reach to congo, south sudan, and the central african republic. since 2008, the lra has kidnapped or killed around 6000 civilians and displaced some 400,000. he has been a fugitive from the icc since 2005. he allegedly travelled from the sudan to congo as recently as january, 2011.

    but really, why stop there?

    felicien kabuga was the millionaire who financed the genocide of tutsis in 1994 in rwanda. many believe he is hiding out in kenya.

    omar al-bashir, president of sudan since 1989, ordered the raype, murder, and torture of civilians in darfur. the icc issued it's warrant for him in 2009. he is *still* the president of sudan, and since the warrant, he has travelled to chad, kenya, and djibouti without incident.

    they all have warrants from the icc. if africans don't want to do anything about them, why should we?

    April 5, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
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